The High Cost of Delivering a Baby in America Doesn't Exactly Scream 'Family Values'

childbirthPregnancy and childbirth in the United States is among the most expensive in the world. For many people, even those (like me) who have private insurance, the out-of-pocket expenses are astounding. Of course, there are some private insurance companies that simply don't have maternity care at all, which means that the $32,000 hospital bill may very well end up on the shoulders of the brand new parents.

Stay classy, America. I mean, really, this is appalling. Let me get this straight: Women can't have their birth control paid for according to some lawmakers, abortion is verboten, and childbirth itself costs an arm and a leg and insurance companies aren't mandated to cover it. They make arbitrary decisions that affect our bottom line and hurt families in so many ways.

Then, when you finally pay off the hospital bill, you get the joy of a 10-minute maternity leave followed by $2,000 a month in (unsubsidized) child care. I am so proud to call the U.S. home sometimes.

The reality is, we pride ourselves on being a country where "family values" run high, but the reality often looks far bleaker. For many, the high cost of maternity care might actually stop them from procreating. Or worse? It might stop them from doing important tests for fear of the costs.

Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyful time, one of intense love and excitement. But when you are worried about the cost of every single test and procedure, it's the opposite of that. It becomes fearful and stressful.

As I prepare to give birth to my third child, I have been astounded by the hidden costs my insurance company didn't tell me about. First I pay the deductible, but it seems like every test they claimed was covered has actually cost us the full amount. There is always some reason they don't cover it.

And then never even mind the birth. I dread giving birth to this baby because I fear it will cost upwards of $10,000. And I HAVE insurance!

It's a truly sad state of affairs. My husband and I are lucky. We are both paid well in our positions and we can afford to have a third baby. This is an annoyance, but it's not a financially devastating one. But there are so many families who aren't in our position. What about them?

There is something so damaged about a country that claims to support families and wants people to procreate and then does absolutely nothing to support them once they do. And, of course, the irony is that most of the people who make the least and could benefit the most from changed policies are blamed for wanting "handouts."

It's part of our job as good parents to raise our children in a financially stable environment. Sadly, I feel like this country is doing its best to make that out of reach for far too many of us. It's unconscionable and doesn't show any signs of changing.

How much did your birth cost you?


childbirth, maternity leave


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miche... micheledo

Our hospital births cost us between $2000-4000.  And of course, that doesn't include the insurance we were paying for monthly.

Homebirth with a midwife has cost us under $3000.  Check-ups, labs, birth, everything included.

Kristen Piatti

I had my daughter in October and it cost over $28,000 for labor and delivery. Luckily I didn't have to pay out of pocket, but for those that do its very sad they will have this resting on their shoulders when this should be the most amazing times in their lives.

linzemae linzemae

Yikes! My husband has amazing insurance thankfully. We paid 500 out of pocket for me. My daughters bill before insurance was 11k. Im not sure yet what hers will cost

LostS... LostSoul88

I was lucky to have Tricare when I had both my kids. I just had to pay a $10 bill when I had my DD. America is a very selfish country. They care more about fattening their pockets then they care about the people. 

Shant... ShantiBantiMama

We are paying $2800 for our wonderful, caring midwife. That includes our one hour visits, homebirth and cleaning up afterward.

Angie... AngieHayes

I had my babies at home, $3000 out of pocket, thats it. PLUS, I had great care, comfort of my own home, and no one telling me to do this or do that, no checking anything, sticking hands in places you do NOT want, it was great, I would recommend it to anyone who is healthy and has had a healthy pregnancy!

Caera Caera

Simple solution: If you can't afford to have a baby, DON'T HAVE ONE

Novel idea, I know.

nonmember avatar Blush

You choose to have a child, when you factor in the numerous doctor's visits, lab work, ultrasounds, and a hospital stay for two people it is relatively inexpensive. I had a recent ER visit (not pregnancy related) that included an ultrasound, IV, and a few hours observation that cost almost $10,000.

And as for the "10 minute" maternity leave, your employer pays for that 6-8 weeks plus the cost of having someone else to do your job while you are out.

Where is childcare $500 a week? Most people I know bitch about paying less than $200 for somewhere their child 50+ hours a week.

Kids are expensive, why should everyone else pick the tab up?

sugar... sugarmansmom

Exactly right Caera-only the wealthy should have the luxury of procreating.  Of course, then when all of us poor folk quit having babies we can't afford, upon whose back will rest the weary feet of all of those trust fund babies?

nonmember avatar Winnie

This post is all over the place. You talk about being a good parent by having a child in a financially stable environment then lament about how some vague changed "policies" would help those most in need. Life is about choice and responsibility. Life is about balancing what you need with what you can afford. Life is sometimes about needing government help when you just can't do for yourself. I assume this post was an attempt to point out how our government should do more for families. That sounds great as long as everyone is will to pay more in taxes, not just the 1%. Are you willing to pay 30-40% of your salary to shift some personal costs (healthcare/insurance/childcare/college) to the government, even if you don't need some of these services? Are you willing to pick up the slack for an employee who gets 6 months off for maternity leave with no extra pay? Are you willing to do with less so that others can have more?

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